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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Atiq - "Sonorous EP"

Artist: Atiq
Album: Sonorous EP
Year: 2016
Label: Onset Audio
Genre: Drum & Bass, Ambient
Website:  onsetaudio.com

After an excellent split album with EnK on Tympanik Audio in 2013, Dutch DNB producer Atiq returns with a solo EP which is a mixture of halftime dnb and ambient atmospheres.

I'm not a huge fan or follower of DNB, but the Atiq & EnK split was incredible; it perfectly utilized the elements of drum and bass that I enjoy and mixed them with plenty of diverse melodic and atmospheric components to craft captivating songs. That said, I had high expectations going into this EP and I feel that they were met. This release opens with the title track "Sonorous" (featuring fellow Tympanik alum Tangent) which gives us a good idea of what we're in for - halftime dnb-style breakbeats and bass bursts mixed with evocative pads and drones. The production is very clean & spacious which bolsters the enthralling quality of the music, and everything sits perfectly in the mix. While it is a bit repetitive (though less so than most dnb), all the elements are interesting enough to overlook that. Definitely something to check out if you're a fan of atmospheric music driven by (slow-ish) breakbeats. The other tracks follow a similar style, but utilize different sounds and some variation on the sad/meditative atmospheres of the opener such that they all sound completely unique. "The Euclidean Perspective" has an even more lofty feel it it; perhaps due to the title and/or the samples from Interstellar. It features some stellar (get it?) pads over a crisp, driving beat and it introduces a great little outer space-y melody towards the end. I don't listen to all that stuff much like this so I'm not sure about references, but it kinds of takes me back to old school LTJ Bukem & the like which had really lush, evocative textures and connected with you on a much deeper level than hard-hitting DNB aimed at clubs/raves. "Hiraeth" and "Real Life (Awaits Us)" are a bit darker; the latter especially, bringing to mind the atmospheres of classic dark jungle, slowed down with the atmosphere really brought to the forefront. This stuff reminds me a bit of guys like Kryptic Minds. The nostaglic nature of it is appealing and the music is plenty interesting on its own.
The album ends with 3 remixes. The first one, a mix of "Sonorous" by Red Army completely harkens back to dark 90s dnb. This is a great sound and definitely takes me back to some of the stuff that got me into this style back in the day. As with the bulk of that stuff, it's pretty repetitive and minimal, but that's par for the course. The second one is by Aeon Waves and it's very happy sounding (in a post rock sort of way), the beat is awkward and I just can't get into it. The final remix, by Dyl, and it has removed nearly all the percussion and is a predominately droning ambient track. Though sparse, it was pretty cool, especially the parts with almost tribal-esque hypnotic percussion and the buried choir pad; certainly a fitting closer for the EP.

A captivating EP and suitable follow up to Fear Of The Unknown. Definitely something that will be appreciated by fans of labels like Tympanik or Atiq's own Mindtrick Records. For beat-driven atmospheric stuff you can't go wrong with this EP.

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